Orlando is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the U.S. That makes it a prime target for criminals hoping to catch tourists unaware. Crime doesn’t stop with tourists; locals can also be victims.
We represented one of two victims in a negligent security case stemming from a crime that took place at night in an apartment complex in Southwest Orlando in 2013. Two criminals staked out the complex and watched as a group of young people entered through the main gate and went into one of the apartments. One of the criminals knew there was a hole in the apartment complex’s security fence. The two perpetrators accessed the gated community through that opening, and followed the victims to that apartment, and held them at gunpoint.
A security guard was scheduled to be on duty at that time. However, he had left early, forging his time sheet to document a full shift. The attempted robbery became a shooting as the altercation unfolded, and two of the young people visiting the apartment complex were killed.
The parents of each victim were able to bring a claim against the complex and the security company for negligence because of the hole in the fence and the absence of the security guard. One of the perpetrators even admitted afterwards that had the hole in the fence not been there, they would not have targeted that area.
Our attorney Brian Wilson was able obtain a substantial settlement on behalf of our client.
Understanding Negligent Security
The basic underlying principle of negligent security is that property owners and managers have a responsibility to maintain safe properties for guests and visitors. Failure to do so can result in criminal activities taking place on the property and property owners being held liable for any injuries that result from those criminal actions.
The key to negligent security cases is foreseeability or notice. The property owner must be aware that a crime could have occurred and have failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the crime from occurring.
One way to prove that property owners should have been aware of the crime risk is to look at crime statistics for an area. A simple zipcode search will uncover where crimes are occurring and even what types of crimes: violent, non-violent, property crimes, etc. Armed with this data, a property owner should reasonably be able to ascertain whether or not their property needs special security measures.
Examples Of Negligent Security Cases
Negligent Security cases are wide-ranging but they have the common theme of property owner not taking steps to maintain a safe property. Common examples of negligent security are: